Food is always about cooking and eating with those you love and care for, and many studies have found that eating meals alone is the most significant single factor for unhappiness. Social connecting during sitting down at the table with friends and family for a meal has been shown to increase joy and help alleviate depression. That simple act of gathering around the table contributes to profound our relationships, which studies have found are crucial in maintaining happiness and a sense of belonging. It does not matter what your nationality, religion, the color of skin, preparation and eating the food is that thing that we all have in common with one another is. The sharing of food with others keeps people connecting.
Gathering around the table
Research of the University of Oxford shows the more that people eat socially, the more likely they are to feel good and satisfied with their lives, and they are more likely to feel better about themselves and have more comprehensive and intensive social and emotional support networks.
Benefits of communal eating are straightforward- gather some people together around table and food, sit down together, talk, eat, and enjoy.
Although researchers say that they don’t know why people who eat together are happier, it is clear that this is a moment of union and communion in our often chaotic lives. Life can be crazy, and gathering during the meals can be a place of peace, conversation, storytelling, and closeness.
“We are the most social animals. Our minds and our bodies are built to be regulated through interactions with others from the day that we are born, ” says Professor Paul Gilbert, a psychologist and the founder of compassion-focused therapy.
Humans are not lonely creatures
That supports study from the University of Michigan which found that replacing “live” contact with friends and family with texting on social media, emails or chats could double our risk of depression. People aren’t lonely creatures. Social connections with family and friends at least three times a week had the lowest level of depressive symptoms.
Robin Dunbar, a professor of psychology once said that all the actions that you do around the table with other people you love are the triggers for the endorphin system. Endorphins are chemically related to morphine – in the brain that gives you an opiate high. Social things like patting, cuddling and stroking can take you to this happy condition. Primates in general bond in their social groups and relationships.
Shared meals, catching up for coffee, going for a picnic – it’ s hard to imagine without food. It is common to all humans, we all must eat, most of us find food pleasurable and something we can share with others.
Emotionally, socializing over food may have some of the following benefits:
* a sense of relaxation & content
* to feel more open to new experiences and eat outside of our comfort zone
* Allows us to bond with others over a pleasurable event
* Helps us feel as though we belong due to our shared interest in food with others
* Takes our mind off what we did before sitting down to eat and what we need to do after
There are so many ideas to create a healthy experience from socializing over food. Meals with friends are way more appealing when one person doesn’t have to do all the work- share debt in kitchen, who is cooking, who will wash the dishes.
So, prepare meals together, and involve dinner guests in meal preparation—most everyone likes to help in some way, for sure.
Eat together as a family- make it a point to eat meals together, that’ s an excellent opportunity to catch up with each other and share our stories.
One of the great things about food is that it can be made to be portable, so pack a picnic and take it to your local park or the beach. Take a weekend camping trip. Organize a progressive dinner party.
If your table is large enough, bring everything you prepared with each meal in its separate bowl or platter. Make this plates go around to each other; this is a great way to get people talking.
Choose killer recipes, try something new, enjoy every experience with your squad, because aside from the right company — it all about healthful eating.
Turn of your phone, get your family together.
Set a date, pick a day, establish a meeting time that works for everybody the majority of the time — say, every Saturday evening — and stick to it.
If your friends are less than gifted in the kitchen, that’s not a problem- going out for dinner with friends or family allows you to reap all the benefits of communal eating without any of the post-meal cleanups.
Spending time with friends or family is social nourishment. So, instead of messaging them on social media, why not knock on their door with full basket food, take them out and enjoy sweet bites and stories.